There has been a shocking string of pool drownings in recent news. Five-year-old child Jeremiah Joseph (pictured above) was pulled from a neighbor’s pool and died a short while later from his injuries. An 11-year-old boy in Fargo, North Dakota was found dead in his family’s backyard pool last Thursday night. And just yesterday, 11-year-old Trenton Piper died in a Myrtle Beach pool.
Child drownings aren’t a new phenomenon. According to the CDC, from 2005-2014 there was an average of 3,536 non-boating related fatal unintentional drownings annually in the United States. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger — like those mentioned above.
Pool fences are mandatory in many states, and pool covers add another level of protection. Unfortunately, young, curious children can get into trouble without meaning to. Accidents also happen at well-supervised pools. Sometimes kids are playing and — for whatever reason — one of them isn’t able to make it to the surface. By the time bystanders realize something is wrong, it can be too late.
As a result, pool owners are turning to technology to help. But do pool alarms work? And what tech is out there if people are by the pool but something still happens to the child?
Do Pool Alarms Work?
Like a smoke detector in the house, a pool alarm works if it’s got working batteries, is turned on, and someone is around to hear it. Most varieties on the market are loud enough to get your attention, and they have tech built in to know the difference between leaves or a ball falling into the pool and a small human or animal.
The Brickhouse Pool Alarm (above) mounts on the side of the pool and not only alerts you if someone falls in, it alerts you if someone tries to tamper or remove the device. It also comes with a remote receiver that can be mounted in your home up to 200 feet from the main unit.
The Smartpool Pool Water Alarm is another option. It mounts inside the pool and detects when objects weighing 15 lbs or more enter the water. The control panel has an on/off switch, low battery alert and power check reset button. We have links in the “sources” section below.
Going Beyond the Pool Alarm
The downside of pool alarms is that they are often turned off when people can use the pool, but then never turned back on. Likewise, if it’s the case of a supervised pool where a child goes under, a pool alarm won’t matter.
Enter the Coral Manta 3000, a drowning detection device that uses an underwater camera and artificial intelligence (AI) to alert people if there’s a problem. The camera monitors swimmers’ motion in the pool, while the AI system is trained to look for dangerous behavior. If it detects no movement from a swimmer after 15 seconds, it sends an alert to your phone app. It is an expensive piece of tech, but the company offers payment plans. (Read our full coverage of the Coral Manta 3000 on Parentology where we also have a discount code.)
Even though there is no 100 percent solution to childhood drownings, there is some tech that can help. And if these devices can save even one life, it will be worth the investment.